Bottleneck: little jobs and emotional friction

Thanks to JG. A particularly troublesome breed of little job are things left undone that hold up the work of other people – a decision that needs your input (or for you to decide), a design that needs your approval, feedback to your team from a key meeting, or a training you need to hold …

Friction (4): mental overhead and nameless dread

Mental Overhead Another type of friction we experience is from the ongoing mental overhead of having too many balls in the air. Unfinished projects, unanswered emails, half-read books, unresolved decisions – all take a sliver of attention and emotional energy. This constant mental overhead acts a drag on our attention. reducing our ability to concentrate …

Friction (3): when friction helps

Friction in the wrong places slows us down and drains our energy, but it has its uses: Friction in processes or emotional friction it’s often a sign that we have work to do Friction is our friend when we need to be slowed down – it makes us pause, think, look before we leap and …

Friction (2): emotional friction

This is a different kind of friction: the uncertainty, delay and discomfort that comes from lack of trust or understanding. Like bureaucratic or procedural friction, emotional friction slows us down and makes things more difficult than they need to be. It takes many guises: The extra time we spend second-guessing and explaining ourselves because we’re …

Friction (1): costs to convenience

Friction is anything that makes it harder to for us to get something done – buy a product or use a service, do our jobs, learn something, enjoy ourselves. There will always be friction – but poor design and execution and a lack of clarity about what things are for make it worse than it …

Organisational friction

is caused by things in your working day that you live with or work around but that sap your time, energy or attention and make it harder for you to do good work. It’s caused by the work equivalents of leaving unwashed plates piled up in the sink at home. You save a bit of …

Quick emails

There are two types of quick emails. There’s kind where you can handle it in five or ten minutes and… the job’s finished; someone else can get on with their job, so you avoid becoming a bottleneck; you can help someone out by being on-the-ball and courteous with a quick and efficient reply; you can …

Supervision

What are you worried about? Why do you want this person or task supervised? How much time and effort will the recording and reporting cost the person being supervised? How much motivation and goodwill? Is the supervision actually going to happen the way you think? How much time and effort will reading the reports, checking …

Little jobs

There’s a lot to be said for batching – saving up similar jobs and then working through them efficiently in one go. But doing little jobs in free moments – in checking-the-news moments, social media moments, junky youtube moments – has its benefits too: Doing little jobs can act like a form of mental keepy-uppy, …

The new possible

My sister (let’s call her Sharky) bought me a book for Christmas. Sharky lives in Argentina. She bought the book from a shop in the UK. I’m on holiday in a remote part of Indonesia. She bought the book, told me about it, and I was reading it, in less than ten minutes. This is …